Aerial view of Skoltech. Credit: Putevi; Aerial view of Skoltech. Credit: Putevi;

Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, Moscow

A cutting-edge science facility that fosters excellence in design and operation

Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) is a global research university located in Moscow, Russia. Established in 2011 in collaboration with MIT, Skoltech aims to cultivate science, technology and business for a new generation of researchers and entrepreneurs, promote advanced scientific knowledge and foster innovative technology to address critical issues facing Russia and the world. 

The new campus, designed by Herzog de Meuron, is home to 40 world-class laboratories each containing cutting edge research equipment. As Lead Consultant, Arup was responsible for project delivery in its entirety, including provision of all engineering and architecture

Structured as East and West ‘Rings’, Skoltech’s unique arrangement is designed to encourage collaboration and enable flexible occupation across different science disciplines. The curved shapes connect laboratory buildings, shared academic facilities and public spaces within a single loop. Skoltech is one part of the Skolkovo Technopark Moscow.

Project Summary


280min diameter

1,500+bilingual deliverables

Targeted flexibility

The brief from MIT stated that a university for the 21st century did not create academic departments, but rather created space for all disciplines to collaborate in. The laboratory design allows for each of the five science clusters to be located throughout the building, adjacent to any other cluster, without oversizing the plant and infrastructure. This approach has been termed ‘targeted flexibility’, providing infrastructure that meets the general needs of all science typologies, with the capability to provide additional capacity in some targeted areas.

© Putevi

Future design and expansion

The building was designed with the potential for future expansion from concept. The floor plan typologies share a common kit of parts to enable easy re-configuration. All research areas required additional strengthening to allow for ceiling mounted hardware such as cranes and heavy plant.

The large single storey basement was one of the many technical challenges for the structural engineers. The basement was below the ground water level and the design intent was to avoid any movement joints. The maximum basement dimension of over 250m meant that detailed consideration had to be given to thermal and shrinkage effects and construction sequencing.


Skolkovo IC has a dedicated ‘Green Code’ for sustainability, and Skoltech is also aiming for LEED Silver certification. The Green Code bans combustion on site and as such all vehicles will be parked at the site boundary and on-site transportation will be via electric vehicles. There is a central district heating plant that supplies medium temperature hot water to Skoltech, and a dedicated cooling plant, designed by others.

The energy consumption of the building was estimated using the ASHRAE 90.1 (2007) method, as required under LEED. Design Builder incorporating Energy Plus was used as the modeling software.

Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology

Façade optimisation

The large surface area to volume ratio of the building, combined with the highly glazed façade was a major challenge for the design team.  The pre-requisite energy credit for LEED required a 10% improvement over the notional building result, and Arup worked hard with HdM and EPPAG (façade engineers) to achieve a façade performance that met the ASHRAE requirements. The highly glazed curtain walling system was specified to be at the cutting edge of achievable thermal performance.

Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology
Sensitivity analysis was carried out to find the optimal solar shading coefficient. Based on this Arup’s specialist lighting team then carried out numerous daylight and solar analyses of the external façade fins to look at optimization of the fin geometry to achieve the theoretical optimal g-value.

Design team leadership

Arup were the design team leaders for Skoltech, taking overall responsibility for the delivery of the project, a role referred to as ‘general designer’ under Russian codes. Herzog and de Meuron, Payette, EPAG and multiple local Russian specialists were employed as sub-consultants by Arup.

Arup provided a dedicated design team leadership service including a team dedicated to quality assurance to meet the exacting requirements of a Russian Proekt submission. The project was delivered in both English and Russian, was coordinated across the Arup London and Moscow offices, and successfully achieved Proekt. Our network of design specialists ensure we shape a better future.